In the late ’90s, the demand to be entertained by Hollywood movies was at a steady increase. A couple leveraged on this demand to start a movie rental service named Blockbuster. By the year 2000, Blockbuster had become the leading movie rental store, serving millions of customers across various countries. During that time, there was a growing pain amongst Blockbuster’s customers. The movie rental store required customers to make extra payment as a penalty for late movie returns and customers weren’t so happy with this. At about the same time, another company - Netflix, noticed the experience gap and pitched a solution to Blockbuster. The solution simply allowed customers to pay a subscription fee for movies they ordered online, there were no late fees, however, as long as the customer had the movies they ordered, they couldn't get more (depending on the plan they had), till they returned the movies they had with them.
This offer was rejected by Blockbuster. Long story short, today, Blockbuster is but a memory (and a case study), meanwhile, Netflix, has continued to innovate, putting the customer’s experience first, and is now in 190 countries.
By finding a solution to the gap in the user’s experience, Netflix was able to attract Blockbuster’s customers, and grow their reach across various continents, with an annual revenue of about $20 billion as at 2019.
This story points to how a well designed user experience has the ability to answer customers’ pain-points, deliver on their expectations and impact a company’s bottomline.
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User experience (UX), goes beyond the usability of a product. People are quick to associate usability with user experience but that’s not the only thing that makes a customer have a great experience. There is a whole lot you should consider when you are looking to offer your customers a great experience. Peter Morville, a pioneer in the UX field and UX adviser to Fortune 500 companies, stated 7 strategic things to consider if you are hoping to develop a product/service with great user experience. The things he listed are;
Now let’s break this down to see how it influences product acceptance by your target audience.
Nonetheless, we know that most pilot versions fall short in this department and though, at the end of the day, there might be sales made, it is important that the product’s usability is properly addressed in the following versions.
Useful: For every product that is being developed, there’s a reason for which it is created. That reason is simply to help customers accomplish certain goals as they relate to the product. So, the creators of a car, for example, did so, so people could transport themselves from one place to another. Hence if a customer should purchase a car and it’s unable to transport them from one place to another, then the car becomes useless. Any product that doesn’t help customers achieve their intended goal, has therefore failed in usefulness.
Findable: We are at a time where most products are more digital than they are physical. This has increased the need for well-designed digital experiences. Products must be created so customers don’t need human assistance to achieve their goals and accomplish tasks, they should be made so simple that customers don’t have to spend so much time to find features as they engage with the product. If a customer can’t access relevant information they need to accomplish certain tasks on your product, they’ll quickly get frustrated and leave. This leaves your customer with a bad perception of your brand.
Desirable: There is a high possibility that you might create a product that solves a problem. However, there is a higher tendency for that product not to be desired by your target customers. To put this into a clear perspective, let’s look at Range Rover and TATA, though they both are able to transport people from one place to another, the Range Rover is more desirable.
Product desirability comes from the product design, branding etc. We see customers today brag and make noise about products that they find desirable, almost as if they’re the ones that created the product.
Credible: Any product that customers have questions or are skeptical about, tend not to do well in the market. This doesn’t matter how great the product is, once customers believe that the creators of the product can’t be trusted, customers feel reluctant to use it.
Accessible: Accessibility speaks to ease of use for people with various types of disabilities. We find that some products are created today without considering people with disabilities. Sometimes, this happens because they feel people with disabilities aren’t so many, and so there’s no motivation for companies to invest in such a market.
However, World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates over 25 million people living with disabilities in Nigeria alone. Add this to the 15% individuals living with disabilities in the world. That’s a huge number of users that are being largely ignored.
Another factor being overlooked, is that a product created with people with disabilities in mind doesn’t benefit people with disabilities alone but also your entire customer base, especially in terms of product use. This is how as designers we conduct our research, we consider extreme users. By extreme users, I mean people who fall outside the regular use parameter of a product. So it is either they don’t use the product or use it too often. The result in considering this in your research is that it increases the chances of you developing an innovative product that customers see as a preferred option to use.
Value: Every product created must offer value to its creators and also the customers. People will not be willing to purchase expensive items if they deem the value of the item to be low.
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A great way to ensure that all these things listed above are captured by your product is to test the product with customers. For you to deliver great user experience, you have to carry out user research. This will enable you to find how best to build these 7 factors into your product design, driving product acceptance within your customers. You could run this test at low fidelity, on a piece of paper, or use any means that passes the message to get feedback from your target audience. You can continue testing even as you build until launch. Even after the product is launched, you can continue to test, improving your customers’ experience.
Having these key components as part of your user experience strategy ensures that you get the best results.
User experience strategy cuts across both products (physical and digital) and services as well. Whatever type of business you have, find ways to test and implement these 7 key areas to help you improve your customers’ experience.
Do you have questions on how you could test or incorporate user experience strategies into your next product? Leave a message below and be sure we’ll respond to you as soon as we can